Poetry Blog by John E Marks
"Spain, under Arab rule, became the most civilized country in the world."
Max Dimont,The Amazing Adventures of the Jewish People, Behrman House, 1995, p. 81
Arabic spoken in Andalusia,
after 400 years of the inquisition.
Muslim houses, in Bosnian villages,
with crosses on display
despite the threat of apostasy.
..........And slay them wherever you come upon them: Surah-Al...
Monday 19th August 2019 8:26 pm
Serendipity came my way, on a blowy Lancaster day
Blown in all the way from Cal-i-forni-i-a, an idea of a girl
That I kept in my head, long after she was dead
Except in great extremity when I'd gamble all that I had
On her not being sad. But, maybe, I was wrong and Jenny
Had sung a bitter-bitter-song. A song of her declining days
Drifting into a frustration-opoid-filled Palo Alt...
Sunday 18th August 2019 1:32 am
Morning maniac music
Shakes me awake
The regular guys
Those who once brought hope
Now bring hate.
Over the mountain,
the clouds scud away
blood on the floor
it's all fading away.
Blood on the soul,
and blood over water
All those refugees
stick 'em in the camps
and camp'em on the shelf
of our conscience
Sunday 18th August 2019 12:13 am
Falling in love
Beats falling in line
What is our derivative today
In this curve of time
We need a degree of differentiation
To establish our rate of change
With respect to time.
There are a number of ways
To fix this derivative:
In the end they all amount to the same
In the fourth dimension
Saturday 17th August 2019 11:42 pm
Moon came to an old Cheshire mere,
In all her shadowy finery.
This boy cannot stop looking
And looking and looking at pretty Missy Moon.
Thunder growls on this high summer eve,
Missy Moon shows off her talents,
Her rounded suppleness of form
Shows us all her shades and shadows and crevices.
Toing-and-froing the moon swings like an old nursery rhyme
Moonlight flows and flows and t...
Tuesday 13th August 2019 11:31 pm
The ideas of the beautiful Cathars of Languedoc spread across western Europe
Cathar comes from the Greek: καθαροί, katharoi, “the pure [ones]”
They built on the dualistic theology of Manichaenism
Which they blended with the eastern Christianity of Byzantium
They were ascetic: believing the matetial world was the evil realm of Satan
Whilst the world of the spirit w...
Monday 12th August 2019 9:13 pm
At the end of time I will rise
Like today, go about my business
Talk to children, smile sometimes.
The sky - the real sky - shall shelter
And storm the earth still. Black soil shall
Breed many Satans still.
Azure clouds from which no rain falls
Shall mass on far horizons.
Large drops of rain shall fall, freezing into ice,
Falling into full sunshine.
Monday 12th August 2019 8:59 pm
The winter-sharp brains of children
Took a turn for the worse,
Suffered an inferiority complex
Caused by all the old men: quick to criticise, slow to help..
Dispersed, triumphant solely in their dreams.
Children running across raging seas danced on the waves.
Such a storm-blessed salty awakening.
They had nothing to regret.
They were children who coped with HIV, nursed t...
Sunday 11th August 2019 7:11 pm
Missing the wildness of the beautiful
We degenerate into words. Waiting, between
Sentences, for the Muse to catch up with us,
We fulminate, flash like lightning, explode so
Violently that I catch myself thinking this
Is an all an act to compensate for the time
My friend climbed that tree before disappearing
To Japan for all eter...
Sunday 11th August 2019 6:32 pm
"`He was courteous but very silent. He was good with children. His eyesight may have been impaired, but he had an ear open to the world." This is how Alex Leon recalls James Joyce, who, between 1928 and 1939 was an almost daily visitor to his family's flat on the rue Casimir-Perier in Paris. Joyce came to consult with Alex's father, Paul Leon..." 'The Irish Times', Thu, Oct 29, 1998
Wednesday 7th August 2019 11:30 pm
If all the days of all the years were made of wine and gold
They’d be present in the light of intelligence in this one dog’s eyes.
This friendship across species — a Buddhist mantra –
Rocks me like a good old boy, befriends me like the rain.
He’ll be with me when the gates fly open — his love will never end.
Seek out the depths, the s...
Tuesday 6th August 2019 7:27 pm
moments of the past
memories do not last:
tumbling heaps, red, gold and brown
deep-set colours all around
echoing the silent dread
of the day of the dead.
A memory-lost, a memory-found,
but never said:
regrets of a life misled.
around my head,...
Tuesday 6th August 2019 2:53 pm
Passing these whiter shades of pale, these pretty traces of lace,
We reveal the opal-luminosity of these few remaining late Romans,
Their indigo-dreams red with the gore of resistance on this bloody
May Day, negating their absorption into the timeless air of antiquity,
Through the thousand year creation of Constantinople’s drift and swell,
Rising into Elysium’s perfumed garden ...
Monday 5th August 2019 12:34 pm
My friend is dead.
I met him here
He was wise,
But he was not clear
About anything - afar or near.
For which I was grateful.
I try to hold him clear in mind -
on the random wildwind strain
where we hear old notes playing -
I maintain the glory of his voice, his name,
But I have a sick dread of a fading
Time, unmaintained by love or rhyme.
Saturday 3rd August 2019 12:06 am
I went to see a dead man's wedding today.
I can sing again, some may say,
Even if the bridegroom cuts out his heart
And swears they'd never part
I'll plant a heart in the national park
But the NIMBYs would exclaim,
In addition flowers cannot bloom,
For the NIMBYs are in their 60s with no debts,
They think they'll live for ever
But between the layers of birdsong death i...
Friday 2nd August 2019 10:00 pm
You may want to be a rose,
You are beautiful enough,
and your perfume makes me faint
Heady it is in that one garden,
Where the best woman in the world
Works like a peasant, smiling, striving,
The trimming of the hedges,
If I was a sculptor there would be statues
To remember you as a young woman
But I am a dreamer and I only remember every inch of you
Just as the w...
Friday 2nd August 2019 9:26 pm
I have a dead weight inside me
Which I carry around all day,
It often tries to kill me
And it won’t go away.
I send this freight’s immensity
To the centre of a black hole;
Retracing the wandering journey
Of my wandering soul.
Mine is a grave singularity
That contains a huge mass,
In an infinitely small space:
Thursday 1st August 2019 7:21 pm
We wake to the rumbling thunder of blood,
Pumping hearts, twisted hearts, this shadow and I
Squeeze into these thick silences of trees.
Soon the dark lights of Christmastide afflict us
Twilight memories drift, flux and flicker
In this breeze of Time,
Penumbra-beginning hologram-end, my friend,
Such pungent affirmations, slip into the past:
Generations of suffering: eyes lifted to...
Wednesday 31st July 2019 10:11 pm
The times of wonder have gone
We hold on - the wise women drugged
Forensic psychology reveals traces
Of long-forgotten haunted faces
Which, like Munch's lurid, silent scream,
Degenerate into nightmaredream.
Or, so it seems.
Meanwhile, in population centres,
Desire, in all its lurid manifestations,
Falls into disuse,
All is as it was before:
Tuesday 30th July 2019 7:50 pm
Goodbye my Sufi friends and lovers
Nothing now exists to connect you to me
Tayyar is honourable and full of good intent
I will rise from the trap of the world
I will ask you to be my servant in paradise
You are my dancer, I am your poet, we can laugh
Together on days when I taste the rain-drift-clouds.
When you sew I can watch you and fall in love
Again I remember our ...
Monday 29th July 2019 10:24 pm
Shout it out or whisper it secretly in my ear
Tell me all the things I will never want to hear:
Tell me how Sharia law liberates the maid:
Tell me how nationalism is patriotism writ large;
Tell me how exactly and who it is that Jesus saves.
Now I’ll tell you our lives are way too crammed with things
How we need to let go if we want to hear the s...
Saturday 27th July 2019 10:12 pm
Our time in Erbil was short
We heard that in Mosul
The fascist’s love of power
Was enforced by knife and fist and gun.
Our time in Nineveh had begun,
Long, long beneath the sun.
With Dwekh Nawsha
It was a time for self-sacrifice
A time to break the deadly silence of terror
And now, again, church bells ring in Nineveh
WE have changed fate.
We the ancient Assyrian p...
Saturday 27th July 2019 12:27 am
john coltrane in my mind, a war companion in my head
miles davis not far behind, it's the kind of blue that rhymes
a mixing that's complex and true: a rippling of the genes,
a resurrection of memory, a breaking of the heart
a saxophone screeches us apart, a wail, a scream,
blue-lightening flashing, it's more than a blue-tinged dream,
billie holiday, lady day, tears out my soul...
Friday 26th July 2019 10:10 pm
Compose a verse that is hotter than a boil
Compose a poem that'll flare up in oils.
Compose a eulogy that outreaches the stars
Compose a symphony as an epiphany of bars
Compose the day as a hotter aspect of night
Compose a moody monochrome in sunlight.
Fit your creativity to working inside an oven
Freeze out the hotness of a witches' coven
Filter the air with extreme air ...
Thursday 25th July 2019 9:43 pm
black rain glistens on the window panes
as she looks out on unfenced existence,
at the the life that never was, outside
her eyes shine like stars beneath the lights
turned on by mom before she went off on one
these men hunched up, collars pulled tight,
detectives steaming under these high ceiling lights;
a woman in high heels clutches mummy's bag
unsteadily she shudd...
Thursday 25th July 2019 7:44 pm
First light: a new beginning,
at the crack of dawn
feel the air against the skin
stop to listen to the dawn chorus.
Thrillingly, it is still summer.
Last year, madness brushed with death.
.Now, I'm thinking:
"The world is full of magic things,
Patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
My senses are sharp,
like a razor I cut through the trash
of man's decei...
Monday 22nd July 2019 7:51 pm
It is always better to depart
at the end of life
whilst windows are locked
and doors closed
but this is often impossible.
Now, when thousands of lakes have been removed
wars are fought over water
millions of cups of coffee no longer drunk,
your gaze explodes like petrol thrown on a bonfire.
and this time it really is my fault
some of us are good at dissembl...
Sunday 21st July 2019 10:05 pm
The words that he said,
in malice and spite,
lit a spark in her heart
flowed in her blood
then entered her brain,
and did her no good,
She was never the same.
As she glowered and festered
she rotted and knew
her cancer diagnosis
was most certainly true.
Sunday 21st July 2019 3:39 pm
Sometimes she speaks through gritted teeth
To herself, admonishingly. She, unforgiven,
Riven by frustration. So hard on herself:
A mother, a lover, a woman who writes poetry with
Her eyes. Disguises truth with flashes of beauty
Remembers the older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune
Closes her eyes as she suddenly mounts to a crescendo
Of temper, that leaves her sobbing, inhali...
Sunday 21st July 2019 3:20 pm
Egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly
This natural magic of transformation
Can happen to you too. Time makes you
More beautiful. Human metamorphosis
Liberates souls. Such a rare achievement
Requires an emptying of the mind
A deep (and often painful) compassion.
Defeat your expectations;
Free yourself from what is expected and you will see
The passing beauty of a butterf...
Sunday 21st July 2019 12:29 am
Ah, the tip of the straw still gripped by your teeth
I move you gently. You are asleep.
Not jealous or envious or proud.
You have a little money but enormous dignity.
You live in a caravan and still poach
For the pot. You are remarkably silent about the past.
I think it is wise to let sleeping dogs lie.
You would have taken another birth into more fortunate circumstances
Wednesday 17th July 2019 9:19 pm
When you came to me, through an open window
All the cracked envelopes of me came into your hands,
There was nothing in them - just love that you could throw away -
If you chose, you threw it straight back to me, I caught it, we were away.
You gave me a lot of praise with your eyes
For being alive
I thought you are desiring reciprocation, but you weren't
You were just a girl,...
Tuesday 16th July 2019 11:29 pm
Find a way to tell the truth then realise
The truth will DEFINITELY pull out your eyes
Once upon an old time days were put away,
Saved up for days by the sea.
Now, extremity of mood is the mother of invention
Some say this, some say that, some just cough for attention
Play Solitaire whilst sitting on a stair
Staring into thin air
John O'China sailed outer Liverpool
Tuesday 16th July 2019 9:42 pm
Upon hearing that another young man
A friend of the family, under thirty,
Has taken his own life, by his own hand,
I stop to think. I have no other way. To cope.
Maybe, this whole insincere malarky of 'modern life'
Drove him to the rope, to the sharpened knife.
She is born who is going to decorate my death,
But I am old and certain things are fixed, but, dear God,
Tuesday 9th July 2019 9:37 pm
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.
In the auction-room, toy trains wait like ribs
to be eaten, they smell like wet sacks
full of delicious smoke, darned with swollen
fingers in the cold of a Kashmiri morning.
I smile as the pigeons hum into life
so sweet and forgetful was my pain;
Tuesday 9th July 2019 2:05 pm
Angel light, a slight, feathery goodnight kiss,
behind her eyes a guardian angel sighs.
The whisperer behind the song,
A misfortune in thought is exorcised:
close harmonies, fugues when
A song in a minor key, a longing to be whole and free
Roll away the stone:
On this seafront there is a stone,
where, in the creamy moonlight of an old raggedy romance,...
Saturday 6th July 2019 11:40 pm
Occult fish-rats were in short supply
In that cottage by the Lake-shore where
Jenny, a Californian girl with toothache,
In 1969, give-or-take, was advised to drink
Fortified wine. Fortified by C16H16N2O2
This Lysergic acid had been manufactured
In Palo Alto and brought over to England,
People did those sort of things then inspired
By Timothy Leary and the whol...
Saturday 6th July 2019 12:14 am
“I am the immense shadow of my tears”
― Federico Garcia Lorca
I knew from the very beginning
The day would come
When the sun of the mountain
Would cast aside as a sacrifice,
The shadow on your bedroom wall
When you were a girl
I knew from the very beginning
That, in my heart there is no balm.
To fool me into complacency
Friday 5th July 2019 10:22 am
There are no fences facing
These skipping wheels of rhyme
So play a tune that's tracing
These slippery eels of time.
Now the fleeting senseless shipwreck,
Of all of life's esteems,
Flashes quick before your eyes:
With the true-falsity of dreams.
Cling you to the wreckage,
Or let it sink and go,
The starlight shines
And the north winds blow...
Thursday 4th July 2019 4:01 pm
Blessed are the icons of the Christian East
Fallen into the hands of Whabbi murderers
These who deny the sanctity and purity
Of those who resisted Muslim suzerainty despite
The heavy penalties: their children stolen,
Priests executed, discrimination, terror, fear
But they're still here
These Orthodox Christians who stuck to their religion
Through thick and thin and never ga...
Monday 1st July 2019 9:23 pm
What is the curve of time?
Which degree of differentiation
Is required to establish a rate of exchange
With respect to time?
There are a number of ways
To fix this derivative:
They all amount to the same
In the end.
In the fourth dimension
The gradient of the curve of time
Is flat, time is still,
Unlike the curvature of spacetime
In our dimen...
Monday 1st July 2019 9:06 pm
“Commune with your own heart on your bed and be still.”
― Maimonides Moses 1135-1204
The splashes of red, the heady bloom,
The opulent smell, patchouli oil, lingering.
In a marbled room: a certain slant of light,
Reveals these Andalusian roses creeping
Along the fence between Mudejar and Christian.
Between Morisco and Jew,
Between my lover and I,
Between me and you....
Sunday 30th June 2019 12:18 am
To weave the blessed singularities of a woman.
Read the book of shadows,
when sadnesses besiege you,
make art from the dying of the light,
when you are terrified, late, late at night.
Look so-deep into the blackness,
at the heart of second sight,
see yourself mirrored
in the declining light
of your sleeping child's eyes.
When you enter here:
Abandon all disguise....
Saturday 29th June 2019 11:39 pm
Fortitudo mea est amor a matre mihi datus,
Coming downstairs slow and steady
Crinkled and wrinked with ruffled hair
I hold her dreams close to me -
Pausing at the turning of eternity -
Until I have drunk two strong coffees,
Smoked an imaginary cigarette,
Said good morning to those I love,
Who are now amongst the dead;
Recite a quiet antiphon in my muddled head.
Friday 28th June 2019 11:54 pm
It'll take the breath clean out of you
When you think the implications through
Tabula Rasa: blank slate
No memory, no desire,
Nothing to bend you in any direction,
Nothing to send you lower or higher
No future envisaged
No presience required
No past to regret
Nothing for sale and nothing to let
No genetic predisposition
No-one to speak and no-one to listen
Friday 28th June 2019 10:19 pm
Chucked up quick, cheap
My first home
My dad he’d shipped West Africans
From the Gold Coast to Burma to fight
The Japs. Sunk, he was, three times,
No one thought to teach him to swim.
Dispensible he was, like all the other working class lads
Determined to do their bit
No bugger taught them anyfuckingthing.
We played all around...
Sunday 23rd June 2019 12:23 am
Two days before he died
In Manchester, at night, in the rain
I shared a cigarette with my brother Pete,
We talked of nothing much,
I knew I loved him,
But not so much.
Death, he said to me, isn't anything,.
Nothing more than
A bird-song when you listen
Or a sunset in the sky
fading to blue,
Or when you see.
Saturday 22nd June 2019 11:18 pm
A whole life spent out of kilter
Every day out of whack
So when the storm hit
And everything went kerflooey
I was ill-prepared.
No going back.
Now, if a little dreaming is dangerous
Is the cure to dream more?
I wish you were here:
On this sad, autumn day
When all the words that ever were
Just drained away
Leaving me aghast.
With nothing ...
Saturday 22nd June 2019 12:11 am
Every day regardless of the goodness or evil lurking in my soul
I see these kipper skies, placid blue occasionally, but much more
Like the swirling skies of Turner and how the skies of the young Mozart
(And he is forever-young) might have seemed when he was adding
Note to bloody note to produce the magnificence of the Requiem or the Magic
Of the Flute. This existence is a privi...
Friday 21st June 2019 11:14 pm
Zoroaster whispered in my inner-ear:
Look! Listen! Synaesthesia is here:
Fill your eyes with music
Fill your mind with taste
Judge from the plunging depths
To the necklines of lace.
Feel this rise to the screaming heights,
Smell out these plangent affirmations.
Silence from the Queen of Night
Or a cacophony of exclamations?
He's soaring, always soaring, he's winging o...
Thursday 20th June 2019 10:11 pm